Mon Jul 26th, 2010 at 07:47:06 PM EST
Wikileaks' Afghanistan revelations ain't much, as far as I and others can tell (look here for multiple links on the story). Much ado, but little if any new there there. Andrew Weinstein has one of the most knowledgeable takes, by the way. So, yeah, the U.S. has a secret task force designed to kill senior Talban which accidentally but by design kills lots of civilians, the U.S. generally kills a lot of civilians, the war has been going badly for us (and well for 'them') especially since mid-2007, and Pakistan military/intelligence has long helped the Afghan Taliban, but didn't anyone paying average attention already sort of more or less know that stuff?
Not entirely new, but 'newish' with an on-the-ground perspective is Losing the east in Afghanistan, by Aljazeera's Gregg Carlstrom, which focuses on 'deteriorating' (or is it 'increasingly liberated'?) eastern Afghanistan and the role of Jalaluddin Haqqani's forces in making that happen:
One trend clearly on display in the release by Wikileaks of 90,000 secret US military records is the slow and steady deterioration of security in eastern Afghanistan.
The worsening situation in the east has been clear for months - long before the documents were leaked.
Provinces like Khost, Paktia, Logar and Nangarhar have been caught in the crossfire between Nato troops and the so-called Haqqani network, a Taliban group. . . .
The leaked reports . . . chart the ascent of the Haqqani network, whose rise brought about much of the insecurity in the east.
Haqqani was scarcely mentioned during the early years of the war. . . .
Now we know why Jalaluddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani network, started smiling.
[It] remains a minor concern until the summer of 2006.
Then it quickly became a major concern for Nato.
The following strongly indicates the control the Taliban has over Eastern Afghanistan. Official 'government' posts simply can't compete in power terms with similar positions in the Taliban 'government':
Afghan intelligence officials began warning that former members of the Taliban who had made reconciliation deals with the government were being lured back to the insurgency.
"[They] were unable to achieve the personal and political power they held under the Taliban," said Mohammad Nawab, an interior ministry official, in a December 2006 meeting with Nato commanders.
"They said that the former commanders were easily tempted by [Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar [the founder of Hezb-i-Islami, a Taliban group] and Haqqani, who offered money, power and prestige."
Carlstrom provides figures showing the dramatic long-term rise in violence directed at the occupiers (sorry if that isn't the politically correct term) in the Eastern provinces:
There were 147 attacks in Khost province in the first quarter of 2010, up from just 41 in the same period in 2007.
Violence in other provinces increased exponentially as well: Kunar, from 66 attacks to 312; Nangarhar, from 38 to 76.
Ghazni, which had just 4 insurgent attacks in the first quarter of 2007, had 71 in 2010.